Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How do we keep the kids safe, and yet let them learn independence?

I live in Oregon and we have a law that says in effect -- if your child is under 10 years old they need to be within eyesight of a parent while in public.
Recently, I went to our local library, and after the kids had picked their own books out (from their section on the first floor.) ... I took them with me to the third floor so that I could choose some books-- I had them sit together and I told them the rules .. sit, read quietly and I will be right back- stay together..- I was only two rows away from my kids-- and I probably was only "away" from them for about 5 minutes.
During that time a security guard came and spoke with my daughter-- my son refused to look up from his book..  After I was finished getting my books I came back to get the kids-- and the security guard spoke with me at that time.
I wasn't very gracious with the security guard-- I took my kids and left as quickly as possible, when I got home I wrote a letter complaining.
Today, I got a phone call back... an an apology of sorts--. the library doesn't post these rules all over the place-- apparently just in the children's section.  During my conversation with the person from the library-- she explained that the rule was mostly, to accommodate Oregon law.
As I sit here writing this post I am trying to filter all the information--  the pro's and the con's of this.
I have two kids... a nine and a ten year old... I am rather neurotic about their behavior in public... when we go to the grocery store I make them keep their hand on my grocery cart-- When they go to the bathroom I wait for them right out side the bathroom.--
But soon my son will be 10 and although I trust my daughter(who is 10) to be away from me, I don't know that I am ready to just let my son run around without me....
I think there needs to be a different way to keep the kids safe... and teach the kids independence--  I want my kids to be individuals... I want them to be comfortable in public-- without me holding their hands--
I just think... that there needs to be a BETTER WAY.
I can't put leashes on my kids when we go out-- because that would be wrong-- but I also can not let them be left alone 20 feet away from me. 
What about when we are at the park? How many parents sit and watch the kids~~ but aren't super close to where the kids are?  What about the parents' that let their kids walk or ride bikes home from school... wouldn't that be against the law?  Why do I see kids that don't look older than ten ~riding their bikes in the neighborhood?
I guess it comes down to LIFE isn't fair. EVER. 


Anonymous said...

Stacey are you sure that's an actual law? I am unsure that it really is. I have never actually researched it but I was under the impression that children's services had a rule or referred to some sort of law about supervision of children under 10 as they should not be left alone and that a child in charge of a sibling younger than them had to be at least 12. I would research it to see if there is an actual law. I don't know where the 20 foot rule thing comes into play especially since children walk to school and the bus stops all the time without supervision. I think it's up to parents to help teach their children how to do all of these things and to learn how to know what they should do when they are alone. I can't believe the library is saying they are doing that for Oregon law. I think they are doing it because people leave their children unsupervised and they cause trouble so the security guard was being bored and pretending to do something. It sounds like your children were well behaved and you were very close so I don't what was up his butt. I love you. Me

Stacey said...

I think you should send this to the editor of your local paper! These are great questions that need to be answered! Seriously, in a library . . and you can't walk to aisles away?! Crazy!